When the Oakham Curry Club last met in January to bestow the coveted 2019 Curry House of the Year (CHOTY) award upon The Tandoor, little did we know the strange circumstances under which our next met would be held.
With Shanghai finally emerging out of quarantine in March, and the rest of the world still firmly in lock down, the OCC decided it was time to give our global followers what they needed – hope, in the form of curry reviews. Thus, we headed to Kebabs on the Grille at Jiashan Lu to put the craziness of the coronavirus behind us, and do what we do best.
Those playing along at home will well know that Kebabs on the Grille at Cool Docks was the winner of the inaugural CHOTY award in 2017, while their sister venue Pera at Found 158 was also well reviewed in 2018. As a result, hopes were high that we would have an enjoyable experience at KOTG’s Jiashan Lu location.
The first noteworthy element of the establishment was the customer care and service. Booking ahead of time through the owner Sandeep, we were informed that they would be delighted to host us. This was indeed evident among the staff from the moment we were seated until the moment we finally left the venue with bellies full of curry and Kingfisher. Although Sandeep had informed us that a number of staff were stuck in India, those who were there were always on hand to recommend us dishes and keep our drinks flowing.
Foodwise, we began with a usual selection of poppadoms, samosas, and onion bhaji, with some mutton boti kebabs thrown in for good measure. Although some members felt the starters overall where underwhelming, the kebabs were an exception and went to highlight just why Kebabs on the Grille gave itself that name.
For mains, the OCC ordered a selection of curries including kheema mutter, methi chicken, daal makhana and tadka daal, as well as a smorgasbord of naan varieties and rice to keep them company. The curries all provided a pleasing variety, with the two daal varieties in particular being well received. As members were to discover later during the traditional OCC chili fining ceremony, the chillies used at Kebabs on the Grille are enough to pack a strong punch when they need to – a welcome addition to any curry that is often overlooked in Shanghai.
Having ordered a considerable amount of food and a number of drinks – including multiple bottles of wine – the final bill for our table of 12 came to roughly 340 RMB per person. With prices for mains hovering around 60 – 80 RMB, certainly this would be much cheaper were members not drinking, but overall given the quality of food on display, this was felt to be reasonable, as the value score of 7.2 indicates.
While the customer care, service, food and value were all solid, where Kebabs on the Grille at Jiashan Lu lets itself down is in atmosphere. The price of being in a more central location to its Cool Docks and People’s Square alternatives is a lack of size. The venue lacks a bathroom, and our table of 12 took up essentially the whole restaurant. As a result, our sincere apologies to the couple sitting next to us on their romantic dinner, although we would like to think that being graced with the OCC’s presence at dinner is a blessing, not a curse.
Overall, then, Kebabs on the Grille at Jiashan Lu has earnt itself a very respectable overall score of 7.3, earning it an OCC Approved sticker, and rocketing it to the top of 2020’s CHOTY race. We are more than happy to recommend it to diners, although it may be suitable for smaller parties given the smaller size.
On another note, with Shanghai emerging from its Covid-19-induced slumber, the OCC would also like to encourage all curry enthusiasts to get out and support the curry houses dotted around Shanghai. 2020 has already seen a number of closures throughout the city, and we hope that no more venues have to make a similar choice.
Customer care 7.5